Trail Pics Part 2

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. It has been so pretty of late (not at the moment, sadly…) that I haven’t been able to resist taking pictures. Here’s a few more.

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Some Pics From The Trail

Kind of a random collection of pictures from my rides/walks/runs from the last couple of weeks. I have just been loving all of the colors that I have been seeing! I’ll probably add some more pictures soon as I am a huge fan of Autumn and the beautiful Fall colors are starting to bust out all over.

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Charity Miles Challenge

I have been working on a review of a new-ish app called Charity Miles. It is a running/walking/cycling GPS tracking app for iOS and Android that turns your activity into a charitable donation. I will be publishing my thoughts in the next few days, but I got an email from them today about a “Challenge” that they are doing with their users and I thought it was worth sharing pre-review.

October Marathon Challenge!

Dear Team Charity Miles,

We love the fall! The changing leaves. The crisp air! The apple cider donuts! No better time to get outside and change the world!

Plus, we know that lots of you are training for fall marathons like Chicago and NYC.

So we think it’s a perfect time to innaugurate our first #Marathon challenge. Do at least one Charity Mile per day for 26 days in the month of October and you’ll win the T-Shirt shown below. We’ll also give some away to people who tweet out the #Marathon hashtag. So keep tweeting it :)

You’re all doing great so far. Charity Miles is really catching on, and we’re starting a movement! Thank you for all of your enthusiasm!

All the best,
Gene

#EveryMileMatters

So if you are interested in joining in download the app (iOS or Android) and get moving!

Cherry Roubaix Criterium Photos

I went to my first bike race this past Saturday. The Cherry-Roubaix Criterium race. Much fun was had by all, including me. I also volunteered as a Course Marshal at the race which was kind of neat too. (Volunteering is big with us middle-age folks, so I hear) I’ve actually never been to a race of any sort before. I was going to be adding running races to my activity plan this year but it didn’t work out. (more on that in an upcoming post) I will definitely be attending and volunteering at more races/ events in the future. I also hope to add running and riding in races as soon as I can. I uploaded some pictures and a couple of short video clips of the race to the Facebook page for my blog. You can see them here. (If you’d be kind enough to “like” my FB page I’d appreciate it!)

The 50 Best Rides in America from Bicycling Magazine

I’ve been wanting to link to this article on Bicycling Magazine‘s website but I decided to wait until they fixed the link to the map data for the Michigan ride. (and a little pat on my own back for being the one to catch that there was an error in the first place.) Now that is is fixed – check this out!

MICHIGAN
Old Mission

The fingerlike peninsula of Old Mission, which juts into Grand Traverse Bay north of Traverse City, is 16 miles long and narrows in places to just one mile wide. The loop around this sliver of land passes cherry orchards, vineyards, and stately homes. For maximum variety, climb up Center Road for 360-degree views, then coast the shoreline flats. Don’t miss Bowers Harbor, home of the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery and its Belgian ales.”

-From Bicycling.com

For the rest of the Article click here.

Hot on the heels of Bicycling picking Traverse City as one of the Six Best Cities for a Bike Vacation, having  them pick a ride right here in the Traverse City area as the best ride in the state is quite a coup.

Bikers, Walkers Need Cities to Protect Them

@glhjr of mywheelsareturning.com shared this on Twitter and I wanted to share it around.

From Governing.com (Article by Alex Marshall)

“At a street corner somewhere, a pedestrian, a bicyclist and an automobile driver enter an intersection. The person in the car turns and hits either the person on foot or the person on the bike, killing her.

Question: What happens to the driver? In most states, nothing. Unless the driver is drunk or can be shown to be speeding or driving recklessly, it is, in the words of Aaron Naparstek, founder of Streetsblog, “a free kill.” The driver walks away without criminal charges, civil liabilities or administrative penalties.

This is crazy.”

Read the article here. Do you think that City/State/Federal Governments could do more to protect people?  Feel free to share your thoughts!

My Fitness Apps

Like a lot of people, I use my phone to track my workouts. I may one day get a dedicated GPS watch/unit but for now I’m sticking to the toy that I already have, as it seems to work pretty well for me. I use a HTC Inspire 4G Android phone personally, but there are apps available on all of the major smartphone operating systems that will run the apps that I am going to cover or others much like them. Please note, I am just giving you some info on the apps that I happen to use. I have tried just about every application for activity tracking that is available for the Android platform and there are a number of good ones but these are the ones that I actually use regularly.

Endomondo

The new face of Endomondo (8.0)

My primary app is, and has been for quite some time, Endomondo. It didn’t used to be particularly pretty but its accuracy was as good or better than any of the other and it gave me my mile splits, a decent web interface to track my workouts and let me easily export my workout data so that I could use it elsewhere. (more on that later) Beyond that I didn’t really care. It does more but that was all I was concerned with.

Endomondo got a big update yesterday which makes me even more crazy about it. (Its also what gave me the idea to write this post in the first place.) It still does all of the same things that it did before but the interface is vastly improved and they added some things that I really like. First among the changes (for me) is the ability, much like a dedicate GPS device, to configure what information you want shown on the main screen. The app will show 4 of the 11 different metrics that are available (speed, pace, average speed, average pace, calories, heart rate, average heart rate, goal and cadence) on screen at one time in whichever order and combination that you choose. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive review so I am skipping over a number of functions that Endomondo also does very well because I simply don’t use all of its bells and whistles but I will say that for tracking my running and cycling (again, more later) I think that is the best all around option on the market currently.

Strava

I’ve been using Strava for the past couple of weeks when I ride my bike. I’m still undecided as to if I will continue or not. The app itself works very well for tracking my rides but that wasn’t my main reason for downloading it. I was more interested in the social aspects of using Strava. I am not a competitive cyclist of any sort at the moment so it is thus less compelling as that is the focus of the “social network” part of Strava. I will also say that I am also not really taken with the interface. Much as the original Endomondo interface, it works perfectly well but seems inelegant. Strava can be used to track activities other than cycling but I far prefer Endomondo for my running. I may very well drop Strava but not because it is lacking in some way just because I prefer Endomondo.

Zombies, Run!

This is more game than fitness app but it has some of that rolled into it too. Zombies, Run! is an interactive story game set in a post zombie apocalypse world where you are a “runner” or messenger/gofer/pedestrian rescue person/etc. for a small outpost. The story segments are fed to you in between songs from your phone. I am not particularly impressed with the accuracy of the GPS tracking but the story is fun and compelling and makes the miles roll by a little easier. I typically run it along with Endomondo. (Zombies, Run! for fun and Endomondo for tracking)

dailymile

Dailymile is my exercise related social network of choice. If you want a place to keep all of your hard work and get tons of positive reinforcement then this is the site for you. I record my workouts with either Endomondo or Strava, export the GPS files from them and then upload them to dailymile.

I will be playing with the recently updated mapmyrun/ride and the just released for Android Nike+ apps in the near future. I just can’t resist trying new toys.